Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

The time has come when mangoes and peaches have made their final descent and hot sweaty days of slaving in the kitchen are officially a distant memory.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

 I may have found it hard saying goodbye to my summer desserts but I am loving fall and everything it has bought with it.

The cool crisp air. The warm brown orange hues. The piles of beautiful autumn leaves on the pavement.  The early sunsets. Halloween!

Pumpkin muffins. Warm tea. And apples. Lots and lots of beautiful apples and with it an endless list of things to make.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel.  Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

I can’t think of a better way to welcome fall with open arms than with these warm cinnamon-ny apple pie bars.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel.

The perfect fall dessert!

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

These bars struck me in the middle of a caramel cinnamon autumnal daydream.

I was craving apple pie but had neither the patience nor an audience to feed an entire pie. This recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction proved to be a Godsend!

A quick version of the classic apple pie without all the hassle.

These apple pie bars taste even better than the original and they’re much easier to make.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel.  Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

They richness from the shortbread crust, the sweetness of the apples, the nuttiness from the crumble and the saltiness of the caramel together create magic in your mouth.

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

These nutty apple pie bars consist of 4 delicious components:

  1. The shortbread crust is flaky and buttery and takes literally seconds to put together

  2. The apples are warm and gooey and they make your entire house smell of cinnamon a smell so deliriously good, it makes me want to bottle it up and wear it as perfume.

  3. The crumble is made up of oats, brown sugar, walnuts and more cinnamon. It has to be my favorite part of these bars. This crumble topping has infact been featured on the blog before. Remember this beautiful peach pie from last summer? Yup that’s the same crumble on top. The same bits of crumbly buttery deliciousness.

  4. The salted caramel to balance the richness and sweetness. You can skip it out completely but I mean why would you? Its salted caramel!! Edible molten gold! *swoooon*

You may think that all these layers and components would take a lot of time to put together but trust me when I tell you, this recipe is super quick. There’s no chilling or blind baking involved. It takes no more than 20 minutes to put the whole dish together and bang it into the oven.

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

A note about the original recipe:

Sally‘s version calls for 115g of butter and ¼ cup of sugar for the crust. I found the crust too greasy and sweet the first time I made this recipe and so I used less butter and also reduced the sugar the second time around. This ratio works out perfectly.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

 

Have it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and I guarantee they’ll become one of your favorite fall treats as soon as you take the first bite!

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

See you soon with some spooky treats. 😉

 

 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

 

Ingredients:
Shortbread Crust
90g (6 Tablespoons) butter, melted
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Apple Filling
2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick, makes 3-4 cups)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
Crumble
1/2 cup quick cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped *optional
60g butter, cold and cubed
Salted Caramel
I use this recipe.
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
For the crust: In a bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the flour and stir until everything is well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes while you prepare the rest of the components.
For the apple filling: Combine everything in a large bowl, and mix until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
For the crumble: In a bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, and flour. Cut in the chilled butter using two forks or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Assembling: Remove the crust from the oven. Evenly and tightly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. Press them down to make them fit. Sprinkle with the crumble topping and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown. Meanwhile prepare the salted caramel using this recipe.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20-30 minutes at room temperature before slicing. Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I cut them into 8 large bars for the pictures but usually cut them into bite size pieces since they are quite rich. Once cut, salted caramel sauce. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy.
These apple pie bars are best served warm but they taste amazing cold too. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator.
Recipe adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

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Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Muffins

It may not feel like fall yet but summer is definitely over. College starts tomorrow and I am, needless to say, already heading towards depression.

Last year of college! Can you blame me?

Oh the jitters. Which would justify why I’ve been hankering down in the kitchen everyday all day long. Nothing like some good fall baking to make everything better.

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist. You won’t be able to stop at one!

 

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. Bursting with fall flavors, these muffins will make your house smell like the most glorious bakery in Italy.

 

Pumpkin and Chocolate were meant to be together and when that chocolate is in the form of luscious Nutella, you know the muffins are bound to be out-of-this-world good.

They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist.

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You won’t be able to stop at one!

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist. You won’t be able to stop at one!

For my fellow Pakistani peeps who aren’t accustomed to the pumpkin ecstasy, let me tell you that it is d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s!

Pumpkin puree makes everything silky, soft and extremely moist. It doesn’t have a very distinct flavor which is why you add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to amplify it.

I have yet to see pumpkin puree being sold here in the supermarkets of Islamabad, which is why I made my own pumpkin puree from scratch. I’ll do a step by step post on it if you like. It’s very simple, just slice a pumpkin up, de-seed it, and roast in the oven till fork-tender. Cool and then scoop out all the soft bits. Chopperize or blend till smooth. Fill up disposable Ziploc bags with it and freeze. It lasts for up to a year.

Be it the classic Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread or Pumpkin Fettuccine, homemade pumpkin puree can be used for all sorts of things; both sweet and savory.

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist. You won’t be able to stop at one!

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist. You won’t be able to stop at one!

Give pumpkin a try. You won’t regret it. 🙂

Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes                                                                        Yields: 18 muffins
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (read description above)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Nutella spread
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease the tray well with cooking oil.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, and oil until well-combined. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder, and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture and milk to the pumpkin mixture alternatively, starting and ending with the flour, until everything is just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Spoon batter into the muffin tray cavities, filling about 3/4 of the way full.
Place the Nutella into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds or until it thins out. Using a teaspoon, drop a spoonful or two of Nutella onto the top of each muffin and swirl with a knife.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set and golden brown. Best served warm!
*Store leftovers in an airtight container. Warm in microwave before serving.
Recipe source: Inside BruCrew Life

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist. You won’t be able to stop at one!

A Red Velvet Murder

All of you witches, elves, goblins, werewolves, zombies and…pumpkins get your Halloween jazz on with this cake because…it’s nearly Halloweeeeen! Favorite day for most of you is JUST THREE days away!

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

The classic Red Velvet, that I made earlier this week, has now been murdered, splattering blood all over! *gasps*

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

The two layered moist Red Velvet cake, all covered with a creamy luscious whipped cream cheese frosting is splattered with edible blood to give it that spooky touch.

This blood splattered cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering! This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

Make the cake. {A detailed post on how to make this cake can be seen HERE.} Spray on some blood, :3 Then, all there’s left to do is to grab a knife and dig in!

Happy Halloween everyone! 😀

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering! This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering! This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

A Red Velvet Murder

Ingredients:
Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting (RECIPE)
Edible “Blood”:
1 Tablespoon water
2 Tablespoon corn flour (or corn starch)
1 teaspoon red food coloring
2 drops green food coloring
1 teaspoon honey
Directions:
Prepare and frost cake as directed HERE.
For the blood: combine all the ingredients, and mix well. Adjust water and corn flour according to thickness.
Assembly: Place cake on a piece of parchment paper or newspaper. Dip a toothbrush in the prepared blood and run your finger across the bristles of the brush in order to create a spray effect onto the cake. Flick the brush to create drops of blood.
Stick a knife in and serve.

https://spatulainmypocket.com/2015/10/23/red-velvet-cake-with-whipped-cream-cheese-frosting/

Sticky Date Pudding

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

-Albert Camus

Fall is my fav!

Of foggy breaths, funky socks and marshmallows in hot drinks… autumn is love because it announces the coming of winter. And what better way to celebrate this awesome mausum than with something composed of rich caramely goodness, dates and warm toffee.

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

After Hajj 2015 ( I hope all your loved ones are home safe by the grace of Allah), many of you will have loads of beautiful fresh dates. So this seemed like the perfect time to share the recipe of a sticky date pudding with you. I bet most of you don’t eat more than a few dates anyway (unless cajoled by your mums). Instead of popping them dates straight in your mouth, why not turn them into something even more delicious (and edible).

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

This dessert is a British classic that has become a favorite worldwide. Made with dates, butter and lots of caramel, it has the power to turn any chocolate lover around. If my sister (a committed chocoholic) can claim this to be one of her favorite dessert, so can you!

 Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Maybe pudding is a little (ok, a lot) misleading for the desi in us. But the British call all their desserts puddings (don’t ask me why), and this dish is thoroughly British. Its a date-studded cake/pudding that is drowned in a sea of warm butterscotch sauce after baking.

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Here I’ll like to admit to two horrendous misconceptions I had before making this cake/pudding.

1) I was never enamored with the idea of baking dates. The thought of mushy, khajoor-y cake made me ick and think of strawberry and cream.

2) The second thought that drove me insane was of the sweetness upon sweetness. Sugary sweet dates with a thick caramel sauce. Who will willingly induce a sugar coma?

But, I was wrong and you will be too when you make this cake/pudding.

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Everything in it is perfectly balanced. The flavor isn’t over-poweringly date-like. In fact you will hardly be able to tell there are dates in it. It’s the toffee sauce that takes all the glory.

The toffee sauce is unbelievably addicting. And not just with this date pudding, but with anything. On ice-creams, drizzled on top of pies, breads, or just on a spoon straight into your mouth (unless you are diabetic). And it’s super easy to make too. Just pop everything (the butter, brown sugar and cream) in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. And you’re done. It’s thick and pourable, and settles on top of the moist date sponge like a glaze, complimenting it perfectly.

The whole shebang is rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Bake it in the form of one cake..

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Or several mini cakes…

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Either way, it’s a must for the chilly season to come!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Pudding
¼ cup (52g) butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 ½ cup (6 ounces) chopped pitted dates
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup water
Sauce
1 ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup (52g) butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

For the pudding:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Butter a muffin tray or an 8×8 baking dish. Set aside.
Bring dates and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will become foamy). Set aside, and let it cool to room temperature.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
In another bowl, with the help of an electric mixer, beat together the softened butter, sugar, and vanilla. Mixture will be grainy.
Add 1 egg; beat to blend. Add half of flour mixture and half of date mixture; beat to blend. Repeat with remaining 1 egg, flour mixture, and date mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool slightly in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack.
For the sauce:
In a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, cream, and butter to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract.
Cut warm cake into slices. Pour prepared toffee sauce on top. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Notes:
*Can also be made in a Bundt pan or a muffin tray.
**Warm leftovers in the microwave before serving. Leftovers, even the sauce, can be stored in the refrigerator for over a week. 
Recipe source:  Bon Appétit
Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.

Poke holes in the cake to drench it completely in the toffee sauce.

Sticky Toffee Pudding..rich, buttery, and oh so decadent.